Being a dog owner is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, but it’s also one of my biggest responsibilities.
Nobody needs to be a dog owner. It’s a choice that you make. Nothing makes me more infuriated than people who do not have the time, money or the personality to be a dog owner but still choose to be.
I was 19 when I got Gatsby. I was going through 1.5 million changes in my life and was all over the place. In hind sight I was probably not the perfect candidate to be a dog owner. Fortunately for me, being a dog momma matured me 150%.
Also fortunately for me I had people to help me. There is no way I could have been a dog owner if i did not have the help in two major ways:
Last winter, while I was still in school in Milwaukee, Gatsby was attacked by another dog at a dog park in Milwaukee. What didn’t look bad initially ending up leading to emergency surgery totaling in over $2,000 worth of vet bills (and no we never saw that dog or the owner again, how convenient for them right?). What college kid has a random $2,000 sitting around incase their dog needs emergency surgery? Not this one! My parents paid that vet bill, and had they not gatsby would have suffered a tremendous amount or maybe even died from his injuries.
I don’t want to compare having a dog to having a kid too much, but it is in a way. Granted, I can leave my dog alone in my house for 2 hours, you cannot leave a kid alone in a house alone for 2 hours. ha. But if i want to go somewhere for an evening or for a day or two, or even if i want to go to asia for 6 weeks like i’ve been known to do, i have to make arrangements for someone to watch, feed and exercise Gatsby.
When I went to Asia, my parents were able to watch and care for Gatsby for me. When I was gone for shorter periods of time and I was in Milwaukee for school, I had to make sure my roommate could watch him. I never made arrangements or plans for a trip until I knew gatsby would be well cared for when I was gone. This is makes being spontaneous a lot harder, but it’s the responsibility you take on when you decide to be the caregiver for a living breathing animal who depends on you for all their needs
Regardless of whatever plans I make or whatever I have on my schedule for the day, Gatsby’s needs always need to be worked into the equation. Everyday he needs to be fed morning and night, he needs exercise, and he needs to go to the bathroom several times a day.
To those of you out there who want to be dog owners but cannot wrap your head around the responsibility and non-negitionables of it, please please please, I am begging you, don’t do it. No dog (or any animal) deserves to be treated like garbage, forgotten about or denied care because you didn’t take the responsibility of having a dog seriously.
Every sacrifice I’ve made for gatsby has been worth it 10 times over, and I can’t picture my life without my 45 pound wrinkly sidekick.
Dog owners out there, what’s been the most rewarding thing about being a dog owner for you?